One of the areas in which organisations often get confused is around whether or not to force people to save all documents to SharePoint. This tends to be the case in more regulated industries where stricter controls are placed over document locations, security and auditing. This is also one of the reasons that organisations are reluctant to move to SharePoint as an ECM platform as they are concerned that business documents will not be correctly filed and tagged.
Actually, it is possible to limit the locations that users can save documents to when using the Microsoft Office Save dialog box. Whilst this may not be quite as rigid and bulletproof as other ECM system lockdowns, it may be enough for most organisations who want to drive users to save documents into SharePoint.
The way to implement this is through the Group Policy Management Console and configuring the Activate Restricted Browsing and Approve Locations policy settings.
- Activate Restricted Browsing – enabling this policy setting allows you to go on and restrict the locations available to users in the Save As dialog box.
- Approve Locations – this is where you define the acceptable locations that a user can save documents to.
For example, you can restrict users being able to save files to their desktops and instead only provide them with options to save documents into SharePoint document libraries.
As mentioned earlier, this is not bulletproof and savvy users are often able to work their way around this restriction, but for the majority of users this is sufficient to encourage them to work with SharePoint as their primary repository.
Note that the list of locations can be restricted to one or more Microsoft Office applications. A typical example is to force save locations for Word, Excel and PowerPoint but not for applications such as Access. This ensures that ‘documents’ are saved into the ECM repository but users are free to determine where they want to save databases. This of course is a very simplistic example and each organisation will have different requirements.